Now you might say, of course they are discouraging people from using iPods. These are DJs and they are losing business to iPods. From a planner’s perspective, iPods are appropriate for some events. For example, one of my clients had a Sunday afternoon lunch wedding with no dancing. With about 70 guests, the wedding was held in a historic home. The iPod literally just provided background music. There were no first dance or father/daughter dance. When it was time for the cake cutting and toasts, the best man asked everyone to gather around without needing a microphone. We did not need a MC per se. The venue already had a sound system that was easy to plug an iPod into the jacks. This would be an ideal situation for supplying your own music.
There is much more to a DJ than just pushing play. Some things a professional DJ does you might not have thought about:
- setup: what equipment he needs, how to set his gear up so as to not take up too much space, how to load in and out of facilities in the fastest manner possible, knows exactly how long he needs to setup, knows where his speakers will go for the best sound, knows what to listen for when doing sound check, knows what to adjust if he starts getting feedback.
- safety: how to tape down the wires so nobody trips, how to move all his bulky equipment
- emergencies: has backup equipment, knows what to do if it starts to rain and you are having an outdoor wedding
- atmosphere: there is a rhythm to every event and music is an important part of creating a mood. Knowing what to play when is an art and takes experience. Not to mention the skill it takes to speak and cue up music at the same time! DJs have more songs than you could possibly own. If the guests are not grooving to disco music, he can switch to something else that would get them up on the dance floor. He also has radio edit versions of certain songs that might have explicit lyrics which would not be appropriate to play in front of Grandma.